This page last reviewed May 17, 2016

Reducing Short-Lived Climate Pollutants in California

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What are Short-Lived Climate Pollutants?

Short-lived climate pollutants are powerful climate forcers that remain in the atmosphere for a much shorter period of time than longer-lived climate pollutants, such as carbon dioxide (CO2). Their relative potency, when measured in terms of how they heat the atmosphere, can be tens, hundreds, or even thousands of times greater than that of CO2. The impacts of short-lived climate pollutants are especially strong over the short term.  Reducing these emissions can make an immediate beneficial impact on climate change.

Short-Lived Climate Pollutants include three main components:

  • Black carbon is a component of fine particulate matter, which has been identified as a leading environmental risk factor for premature death. It is produced from the incomplete combustion of fossil fuels and biomass burning, particularly from older diesel engines and forest fires. Black carbon warms the atmosphere by absorbing solar radiation, influences cloud formation, and darkens the surface of snow and ice, which accelerates heat absorption and melting. Diesel particulate matter emissions are a major source of black carbon and are also toxic air contaminants that have been regulated and controlled in California for several decades in order to protect public health. 
  • Fluorinated gases (F-gases) are the fastest growing source of greenhouse gas emissions in California and globally. They include ozone-depleting substances that are being phased out globally under the Montreal Protocol, and their primary substitute, hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs). Most F-gas emissions come from leaks of these gases in refrigeration and air-conditioning systems. Emissions also come from aerosol propellants, fire suppressants, and foam-expansion agents. 
  • Methane (CH4) is the principal component of natural gas. Its emissions contribute to background ozone in the lower atmosphere (troposphere), which itself is a powerful greenhouse gas and contributes to ground level air pollution. The atmospheric concentration of methane is growing as a result of human activities in the agricultural, waste treatment, and oil and gas sectors. Capturing methane from these sources can improve pipeline safety, and provide fuel for vehicles and industrial operations that displaces fossil natural gas use.

SLCP Documents


What are the Benefits of Reducing SLCPs?

The United Nations Environment Program estimates that by 2030, using technologies and strategies available today, we can reduce global emissions of methane by 40 percent, black carbon by 80 percent, and HFC emissions by 80 percent from expected levels. These reductions will deliver immediate and tangible climate, air quality, economic, and health benefits.


Potential Benefits From Reducing Short-Lived Climate Pollutants by 2030

Global Climate Change Benefits
•    Cut global warming in half, by 0.6oC in 2050, and by 1.4oC in 2100.
•    Reduce warming in the Arctic by two-thirds (0.7oC) by 2040.
•    Reduce sea level rise by 25 percent.
•    Increase chances of keeping average warming below 2oC to greater than 90 percent by 2050.

Global Air Quality, Health, and Economic Benefits
•    Save 2.4 million lives per year globally.
•    Avoid more than 30 million metric tons of agricultural crop losses.
•    Preserve key ecosystems, like the Amazon rainforest.
•    Provide hundreds of billions of dollars in climate, crop, and health benefits. 

Benefits in California
•    Improve health in disadvantaged communities.
•    Reduce risk for premature death.
•    Reduce air pollution-related hospitalizations and associated medical expenses.
•    Reduce damage to forests and crops.
•    Reduce background ozone levels to help meet federal air quality standards.
•    Reduce disruption of rainfall patterns and improve water storage in Sierra snowpack.


What is California doing to reduce SLCPs?

Over the past several decades, California’s actions to improve air quality, fight climate change and protect public health have resulted in significant reductions in emissions of short-lived climate pollutants. 

•    Black carbon - Anthropogenic emissions are 90 percent lower than in the 1960s, and will be cut in half again by 2020.
•    F-gases - Regulations adopted under AB 32 will reduce emissions 25 percent by 2020.
•    Methane - California has taken steps to reduce emissions from the agricultural, waste treatment, and oil and gas sectors.

Futhermore, ARB is sponsoring several research projects related to short-lived climate pollutants. Click on the links below for more information:

Recent Workshops and Meetings:


Date and Time Title Location Materials

April 26, 2016

Public Workshop for Proposed Short-Lived Climate Pollutant Reduction Strategy



Cal/EPA HQ Building
Byron Sher Auditorium
1001 I Street, 2nd Floor
Sacramento, CA 95814

Agenda 

Presentation 

Proposed SLCP Strategy:
Appendix A
Appendix B
Appendix C
Appendix D

Submit Comments on the Proposed Strategy and Draft Environmental Analysis
(comment period ends
May 26, 2016)

View Comments


May 3, 2016

Public Workshop for Proposed Short-Lived Climate Pollutant Reduction Strategy


  • Notice (6:00 pm meeting) 

  • San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Control District
    Southern Region Office
    34946 Flyover Court
    Bakersfield, CA 93308

    The public can also attend this workshop by video conference at the air district’s Modesto and Fresno offices:

    Modesto Office
    4800 Enterprise Way
    Modesto, CA 95356

    Fresno Office
    1990 E. Gettysburg Avenue
    Fresno, California 93726

    May 19, 2016


    Public Board Meeting for Proposed Short-Lived Climate Pollutant Reduction Strategy


    Cal/EPA HQ Building
    Byron Sher Auditorium
    1001 I Street, 2nd Floor
    Sacramento, CA 95814


    Archived Workshops and Meetings:

    Date and Time Title Location Materials

    October 13, 2015

    Regional Public Workshop for Short-Lived Climate Pollutant Reduction Strategy (Sacramento)

    Cal/EPA HQ Building
    Byron Sher Auditorium
    1001 I Street, 2nd Floor
    Sacramento, CA 95814

    Notice

    Agenda

    Presentation

    Black and White Presentation

    View Comments on the Draft Strategy


    October 14, 2015

    Regional Public Workshop for Short-Lived Climate Pollutant Reduction Strategy (Diamond Bar)
    South Coast AQMD
    Auditorium
    21865 Copely Drive,
    Diamond Bar, CA 91765


    October 19, 2015


    Regional Public Workshop for Short-Lived Climate Pollutant Reduction Strategy (Fresno)
    San Joaquin Valley APCD Central Region Office
    Governing Board Room
    1990 E. Gettysburg Ave, Fresno, CA 93726



    May 27, 2015



    Public Workshop for Short-Lived Climate Pollutant Reduction Strategy

     



    Cal/EPA HQ Building
    Coastal Hearing Room
    1001 I Street, 2nd Floor
    Sacramento, CA 95814

    Notice

    Agenda 

    Presentation

    View Comments 

    New Actions to Further Reduce Emissions: The Short-Lived Climate Pollutant Strategy

    The Air Resources Board released a booklet in 2014 describing some of California’s efforts to reduce emissions of short-lived climate pollutants and is leading a collaborative process to develop California’s Short-Lived Climate Pollutant Strategy. This is one of many new actions related to short-lived climate pollutants that were recommended in the 2014 Climate Change Scoping Plan Update. In addition, Governor Brown signed SB 605 (Lara, Chapter 523, Statutes of 2014) directing ARB to develop a comprehensive short-lived climate pollutant strategy by January 1, 2016, in coordination with other state agencies and local air quality management and air pollution control districts. The effort will engage scientific experts, identify additional measures to reduce short-lived climate pollutants, and will build upon California’s leading commitments to reduce greenhouse gases and air pollution. Furthermore, Governor Brown has identified reductions of  SLCP emissions as one of "five pillars" to meet an overarching goal to reduce California's GHG emissions by 40 percent below 1990 levels by 2030. 

    In May 2015, ARB released for public review, a Concept Paper to initiate discussion on the development of this Draft Strategy. The paper described initial ideas to be explored as the Strategy is being developed, including refinement of existing measures to reduce emissions of SLCPs throughout the State. The Concept Paper was presented at a public meeting later in May, to solicit stakeholder input. Comments received on the Concept Paper are posted at: http://www.arb.ca.gov/lispub/comm2/bccommlog.php?listname=slcpstrategy-ws. After consideration of comments received, staff developed a Draft Short-Lived Climate Pollutant Reduction Strategy, which was released for public comment on September 30, 2015.

    In April 2016, ARB released a Proposed Short-Lived Climate Pollutant Reduction Strategy and Draft Environmental Analysis (EA) for public review. The Draft EA provides an analysis of both the beneficial and adverse impacts of feasible mitigation measures for the reasonably foreseeable compliance responses associated with the proposed SLCP measures under each of 17 environmental resource areas. Dates were set for a public workshop on April 26, 2016, and a public Board meeting on May 19, 2016, to discuss these documents. Comments are posted at: http://www.arb.ca.gov/lispub/comm/bclist.php.

    Staying in Touch

    To receive electronic notices of future meetings and availability of materials, you can sign up with the climate change list server at:  http://www.arb.ca.gov/listserv/listserv_ind.php?listname=cc


    For information, please contact:
    Dave Mehl at (916) 323-1491, or dmehl@arb.ca.gov

    Climate Change

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